Gertrude Maassen ’47 Vander Haar

Gertrude “Trudy” Maassen Vander Haar, 94, passed away on February 19, 2019. Trudy was born November 12, 1924 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She was the third of five children born to Rev. Herman and Jannetta (Kleinjan) Maassen. She spent much of her childhood in North Holland, Michigan. She graduated from Hope College in 1947. In the same year she was married to the Rev. Delbert Vander Haar and they lived in Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, southern California and Yokohama, Japan before retiring to Holland in 1992.

Trudy had a strong Christian faith and throughout her life she was involved in youth and family ministries. Del and Trudy held numerous marriage enrichment workshops around the country. Soon after the Reformed Church in America allowed women to hold the office of elder, she became an elder. Trudy was also active in women’s ministries and in 1989 she chaired the RCA Women’s Triennial. She was Director of Youth Education at the Yokohama Union Church in Yokohama, Japan.

Trudy’s lifelong avocation and vocation was writing – curriculum, study guides and other publications for several denominations. After her children were grown, she wrote for the joy of it, publishing six books as memoirs. For eight years she interviewed and wrote biographies of Hope Church members for a publication called Branches of the Vine. Since 2007, she has written monthly columns entitled Geschriften for the Freedom Village newsletter. After returning to Holland, Trudy was an elder at Hope Church and a member of Hope Academy of Senior Professionals, and she became the first woman to serve as HASP president. She and her husband, Del, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Hope College in 1998. In 1999, she and her husband moved to Freedom Village where she helped organize Mix and Mingle and chaired the Vespers committee.

Trudy was preceded in death by Del, her husband of almost 60 years. She is survived by four children and their spouses: Timothy and his wife Susan of Muskegon, David and his wife Lynn, Philip and his wife Anne, each of Minnesota, and Jane and her husband Rowland Van Es, Jr. of Limuru, Kenya; as well as grandchildren Sarah (David), Amber (Ryan), Tiara (David), Melissa (Stephen), Emilie (Matt), Caroline (Noah), Simon, George, Jenna and Michelle; and great grandchildren Kaleb, Adalyn, Aidan, Regan, Kylan, Konner and Peter. She is also survived by her sister Lee and (Cliff) Posthuma, sister-in-law Edith Maassen and brother- and sister-in-law Donn and Helen (Vander Haar) Nelson, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Trudy loved her family and to travel–and to write about both. Her spirit of adventure and hospitality, her love of nature and beauty, and her curious mind and engaging spirit will be missed by all who knew her.

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